Governor signs Stamas’ children’s advocacy center bill

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LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas joined child protection leaders on Tuesday as Gov. Rick Snyder signed Stamas’ legislation to help children’s advocacy centers protect Michigan children.

“This new law is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the best possible outcomes for victims of child abuse,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Children’s advocacy centers are safe and friendly facilities where law enforcement officials, child protection workers, medical professionals and victim advocates work together on child abuse cases. These centers give us the best chance to help children heal from abuse and hold their offenders accountable.

“This will enable children’s advocacy centers to access abuse and neglect information that can be critical in supporting young victims.”

Senate Bill 1021, now Public Act 491 of 2016, allows a confidential record about child abuse and neglect filed with the Department of Health and Human Services to be disclosed to a children’s advocacy center in the course of providing services to a victim of child abuse or child neglect or to the child’s family.

Among the children’s advocacy center board members attending the ceremony were Northern Michigan Mobile Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Bethany Law; Michelle Waskevich, executive director of the Safe and Sound Child Advocacy Center in Midland; and Kaity Doyle and Lindsay Colon with the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center.

Tom Knapp of Wyoming also attended the bill signing. Knapp is executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance, where Law serves as legislative chair.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting Stamas’ website at: www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.